Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard somebody talk about how they have to “pay off” a loan?

Do you hear conversations about money in English and wonder what all of the various phrases mean?

There are multiple phrasal verbs that you may use in English to talk about money.

This is a subject that comes up often in conversation, and so these phrasal verbs can be very helpful as you may utilize them quite frequently.

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The Next Installment In Our Series

You have seen by now that phrasal verbs are a very common and very important part of the conversation.

In our last episode, we talked about phrasal verbs to use in conversations when talking about work, or even in a work setting.

We’ve covered a lot of different phrasal verbs in multiple areas.

Taking these by subject area or by topic can be a great way to learn which phrasal verbs you may use at the right time.

Today we’re going to look at six phrasal verbs that you may use to talk about money.

These each have very different meanings, and it can be difficult to keep them straight.

The reality is that each one is a whole new verb, and so you want to give each the attention that it deserves.

As you have seen in this series we’re choosing a situation and learning the phrasal verbs that are used within that particular situation.

So let’s take a look at our next phrasal verbs that apply to conversations about money, as this is something that you can expect to come up quite often.

Phrasal Verbs To Use In Talking About Money

There are six phrasal verbs that you may use when you are talking about money in some way.

These all have different meanings and uses, and therefore you want to know how to use them in your conversations.

You are likely to talk about money fairly frequently, and in different capacities.

Here are the phrases that you may expect to use in various situations where money is concerned.

1. Save up: This is when you do not spend money. You are trying to put your money aside perhaps for something special. You may be just trying to save your money rather than spend it. You may say something like “I’m saving up for a vacation!”

2. Put aside: This is very similar to save up, as it’s focused on saving money. It may be done for a specific reason, though this used to talk about saving on a more regular basis. This is when you are dedicating a portion of your paycheck or money coming in to this fund or account. You just put it aside without even giving it a second thought. You might hear “They put money aside each month for their retirement.”

3. Rip Off: This means that somebody is charging too much money. The prices may be completely ridiculous or high. You may feel as if somebody is just trying to get your money, and there is no justification for the higher price. You might say “These prices are so high! I feel like I’m getting ripped off!” You might hear something like “Tourists complain that these shops on the beach are ripping them off.” You may also use it as a noun for something that is overpriced, such as “what a rip off!”

4. Pay off: This is to indicate that you are finishing payment owed for something. This may come after a lengthy period of time where you have been paying something on a regular basis. You could hear something like “He hopes to pay off his student loans within the next 5 years.”

5. Pay back: This means to give someone money that was previously borrowed. You have a debt and you are sure to pay that back to the person that you owe. It’s a respectable approach to pay back your debts and not leave them outstanding. You might say something like “I need to pay back my daughter! I borrowed $20 from her the other day when I forgot my wallet.”

6. Fork out/fork over: This means to spend money, usually and often unwillingly. It’s money that you weren’t planning on spending, or that you never wanted to spend. There is often a negative feeling associated with this money having to be handed over. You might say “She had to fork out a lot of money on her daughter’s tuition.” You may also use the idiom “fork it over” to ask someone to give something, usually when they are reluctant.

These are all helpful phrasal verbs to use when talking about money in some capacity.

They all have different meanings and apply to various parts of conversation.

You want to practice with these so that you know how to use the right ones at the right time.

Roleplay To Help

Since you are likely to talk about money quite a bit, a roleplay may be very helpful.

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Aubrey are talking about tuition and student loans.

Lindsay: “I heard your daughter’s headed off to college! Hopefully the tuition is reasonable–some schools really rip people off!”

Aubrey: “Seriously! We’ve been saving up for awhile and putting aside some money every month, so I think we’ll be able to manage it.”

Lindsay: “It’s crazy how many people I know are still paying off student loans!”

Aubrey: “Same here. It gets so expensive. We’re going to have to fork out a pretty penny. Our daughter actually offered to pay us back, but we told her she doesn’t have to as long as she keeps her grades up.”

Lindsay: “Tell her if she fails any classes she’ll have to pay you back with interest!”


Choosing a situation and learning the phrasal verbs you’ll encounter is a great way to learn this important aspect of conversation.

This way you’ll be able to use them when you’re in that situation, and you will know which one to use when.

If you learn today’s verbs in context, you’ll be able to learn the meaning of each one and use them next time you discuss money.

Money is something that comes up quite a bit in conversation, so this is an important thing to focus on.

Try these out and see how naturally they flow when you find yourself in a conversation about money in some capacity.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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